By Haider Hobbollah
Translated by Sadiq Meghjee (UK)
It could be possible to say that the entire Muslim jurisprudential community has agreed on the legitimacy of waging offensive war, rather the view that it is obligatory is more prominent. What is meant by offensive war, as the scholars have explained themselves, is the waging of war by Muslims with non-Muslims to subjugate them and control their land, even if the non-Muslims being attacked did not initiate the aggression or show hostility.
On this basis there is a discussion pertaining to the rights of the People of the Book and whether they can be forced to accept Islam or not. There has been much discussion on the rulings relating to warfare, for example a number of Shi’ī scholars are of the opinion that such warfare is strictly limited to when the Imām is present. Similarly many other thinkers and jurists in the 20th century, who discuss this matter with various hypothetical conditions, have tried to make this ruling sound and appear more modern.
As for that which I have arrived to after researching this topic is that this type of warfare is not only not obligatory in Islamic law, but in fact it is impermissible. There is also no difference between whether the Imām is present or not. The only type of warfare that is legitimate in Islam is that which is defensive, where Muslims are required to defend themselves. This defensive warfare also includes the scenario where the enemy has made plans to attack and defence can only be done via pre-emptive warfare.
To read more please refer to my article Jihād al-Ibtidā’ī in my book Qawa’id fiqh al-Alāqat ma’a al-Akhar al-Dīnī, p. 221-365.
Thursday, 9th September 2021